Jul 23, 2008 BA Bosnia and Herzegovina

The smell of a farm is one thing that is familiar to me, but not much else is.  It’s amazing how removed you can be from a process that is so central to life, but it’s true.  Feel like I should take some kind of crash course in farming, something that would qualify me to report on the majority of the businesses here.  But I’m not qualified and that’s that.  This is the amateur’s version of the life of Kiva clients in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

 

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Jul 22, 2008 SL Sierra Leone

 

Musa Kamara is a simple man.  He lives in small hut in a remote region of the Sierra Leone jungle.  He lives with his wife and daughter under a palm-branch roof that he built himself.  For food he grows a few vegetables in his garden and hunts his own bushmeat.  Musa gets almost everything he needs for his family from the jungle.  Maybe you would expect it, maybe you wouldn’t, but Musa is an extremely happy man.  If you ask him why, he’ll probably say it’s because he has the finest poyo in Sierra...

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Jul 21, 2008 KH Cambodia

On Friday, Sophanith, Elena and I went to visit the Thea Chhin group, to do a journal on the group leader, Thea Chhin. The journey to Sala Khom Village was quite long. We left AMK‘s central office in Phnom Penh early in the morning and the drive to the branch office in Kampong Chhnang took about an hour. There we were greeted by the branch manager and we switched from our car to a pickup truck that was able to handle the village roads. As soon as our truck started driving on dirt roads, I was reminded of a road trip I took during college with my friends to...

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Jul 21, 2008 NG Nigeria

My small black notebook is quickly filling up with lengthy scribble detailing the businesses and lives Kiva lenders are touching in Nigeria. The ever-present entrepreneurial spirit in this country fascinates me while the big-picture political economy boggles my mind.

To put it all in context, Nigeria is the world’s 6th biggest oil producer. Oil revenues constitute over 95% of Nigeria’s export earnings and 85% of the government’s revenue (at US$50 billion in 2006). However, there are frequent power outages, the roads are slow and hazardous riddled with potholes and 57% of the...

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Jul 20, 2008 MX Mexico

I can’t believe 3 weeks have gone by and I still haven’t blogged sharing with all of you my experience so far.  I’m truly sorry for this but I’m hoping to redeem myself and be able to write and describe everything I’ve lived this past days. So back to the beginning…..

 

I believe (not sure if I’m totally right) that I’m the only fellow who is working in her own country. When I first...

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Jul 19, 2008 CM Cameroon

Tuesday was the last day that the former Kiva Fellows, Megan and David, spent at the GHAPE office. The going-away party was really sweet with a board members lunch and gifts of gratitude. The main office in Bamenda is located in a family compound, with an open central area for recreation and cooking. The whole office spent the afternoon preparing the meal of Njama-njama (cooked greens), fufucorn (starchy white food), and chicken that had been freshly slaughtered from the coop out back. Our feast was a celebration for the new friends who had been living and working closely...

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Jul 16, 2008 GT Guatemala

My time at Friendship Bridge has come to an end and I’m off to Guatemala City to start the next phase of my fellowship with la Fundación de Asistencia para la Pequeña Empresa (FAPE).  Before I launch into my work at FAPE, I’ll attempt to reflect back on my time with Friendship Bridge a bit. 

 

First of all, being a Kiva Fellow is fantastic work.  I’ve spent much of my time traveling around a beautiful country, meeting with incredible women, and talking with them about...

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Jul 16, 2008 PY Paraguay

Visiting clients with Fundación Paraguaya hasn’t been exactly what I expected. Fundación clients aren’t being “lifted out of poverty.” They aren’t the poorest of the poor in Paraguay. Most of the time, their loans are simply maintaining a status quo, economically speaking. So far, I’ve visited clients based out of four branch offices, and they have a lot in common. Like many MFIs, Fundación clients are often repeat borrowers. They are already entrepreneurs before they receive their first loan. The classic example is the couple that owns the despensa, a small local grocery/variety store...

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Jul 16, 2008 KH Cambodia

After a wonderful 25-hour journey from New York, I finally made it to Cambodia! My first order of business was to get my visa at the airport, but that turned out to be a breeze. I filled out a visa application and it was passed along a line of 8 Cambodian officials who were seated in a row behind a counter. After 15 minutes and $25 I had my 30-day business visa (which I have to extend soon). When I left the airport I had to make the very difficult decision between a $9 taxi ride or a $7 tuk-tuk ride. The guy selling tuk-tuk rides made a compelling argument, that...

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Jul 16, 2008 ID Indonesia

Turkey, stuffing and beer.

BBQ ribs, corn on the cob and beer.

Beer with a side of beer, with beer on top.

When trying to think of what authentic American dinner I could cook for my host family to show my appreciation of their hospitality, I thought of some of my favorite wholesome,...

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